Kenya, UK sign amended army training agreement

Thursday February 25 2016

 Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo at a past event. A new Kenya Air Force unit established last week will operate behind enemy lines to ensure no soldier is left behind in the battlefield, especially during the ongoing war against Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. FILE PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo at a past event. A new Kenya Air Force unit established last week will operate behind enemy lines to ensure no soldier is left behind in the battlefield, especially during the ongoing war against Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. FILE PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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The British military will be required to give Kenya a year’s notice before holding exercises under a new agreement signed between the two countries.

Nine months before the soldiers arrive, the British military must furnish Kenya with details on number of personnel, number and type of weapons, ammunition, explosives, vehicles and other equipment to be used.

The agreement states that the British would pay Sh132 million over the five years of the agreement for the use of facilities at Laikipia Air Base, Nanyuki and Kahawa Garrison, Nairobi.

For the infrastructure at Laikipia, they will pay Sh7.2 million per year  while the charge for the ones at Kahawa Garrison would be Sh19.2 million. 

Kenya would also have the power to refuse the entry of personnel or importation of military hardware provided it says so four months to the start of the exercise. It would verify the number and nature of personnel coming four weeks to their arrival.

UNIFORM

The visiting forces would be required to wear uniform only when on official duty. This, it appears, is aimed at curbing cases of intimidation of locals by soldiers in uniform.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has asked Parliament to ratify the deal. It will be the first time in Kenya’s history.

The pact signed on December 9, 2015 provides for cooperation between Kenya and the UK on the development of security and defence policies, training of soldiers, military exercises and exchange visits.

“The agreement provides for joint training and exchange of experience and intelligence, thereby increasing the capacity of the Kenya Defence Forces to deliver its mandate,” Ms Omamo told MPs in the memorandum accompanying the agreement.

The deal would be scrutinised by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee.

The committee can ask the House to either ratify or reject it and is expected to make its recommendations through a report to MPs.

British forces have trained in Nanyuki Town and Samburu County since independence, based on memorandums of agreement that were renewed periodically.

The latest attempt to have it renewed caused a diplomatic strain when Kenya demanded better terms.